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    May 27, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Jill Bolton of the Liberty field hockey program has been named the 2022 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award winner.

    Bolton is the first Liberty field hockey player to win the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award.

    In 1974, the Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award was established to honor the top senior student-athlete at Liberty University who best exemplifies the standards and lives of both of these great Christian men.

    Rock Royer was Liberty’s first football coach in 1973. Mac Rivera was a member of Liberty’s men’s basketball team from 1972 until 1975. Both Rock Royer and Mac Rivera tragically died at a young age, with Royer dying in a plane crash and Rivera passing away after a fall.

    This award encompasses more than just athletic ability. It recognizes the Liberty University graduating senior student-athlete who has maintained an exemplary testimony on the playing field, in the classroom and among the student body.

    The award is the final and most prestigious accolade handed out for the FLAMESPYs, showcasing the best of Liberty Athletics from the 2021-22 academic year.

    “This past season, she won both the Honda and National Player of the Year awards. I think both of these awards speak to the uniqueness of Jill,” stated Liberty Field Hockey Head Coach Nikki Parsley-Blocker. “The POY speaks for itself, as it demonstrates she was the best field hockey player in the country. Regarding the Honda, this is a leadership award that is voted on by SWAs and athletic directors.”

    “The Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award speaks to Jill’s consistent pursuit of Jesus,” continues Parsley-Blocker. “She truly used the sport of field hockey and the gifts God gave her as an act of worship. Using hockey as a platform was something Jill grew into during her time at Liberty. Her spiritual growth was even more significant than the outstanding athlete she became.”

    Bolton wrapped up her career during the fall 2021 campaign by leading Liberty to the 2021 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship title game, the first time in Liberty Athletics history a team has reached the national title game. Bolton was named the 2021 NFHCA Division I Player of the Year and went on to earn the prestigious 2022 Honda Sport Award winner for field hockey. She is currently a finalist for Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2022 Honda Cup.

    Bolton became the program’s first three-time NFHCA All-American, earning first team honors in the spring and fall of 2021 and third team honors in 2019. Bolton’s other accolades in 2021 include: NFHCA South Region Player of the Year, BIG EAST Championship MVP, NCAA Field Hockey Championship All-Tournament team, VaSID Player of the Year, All-BIG EAST first team and BIG EAST All-Tournament team.

    Bolton’s other career accomplishments include: BIG EAST champion (fall 2021), five-time All-BIG EAST first team, five-time NFHCA All-South Region, two-time VaSID Player of the Year, five-time VaSID All-State, three-time BIG EAST All-Tournament team, three-time NFHCA Division I Offensive Player of the Week, six-time BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week and BIG EAST All-Academic team.

    Bolton is the program leader in career goals (61) and points (156) and ranks third in career assists (34).

    Bolton completed her undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies in May 2021 and went on to earn a graduate certificate in management and leadership in December 2021.

    Outside of her success on the field hockey field and in the classroom, Bolton has spent many hours helping with community service projects. During her time at Liberty, she helped with the Park View Community Mission, Hop on Pop Reading Day, Salvation Army, Dollar Makes a Difference and Flames READ community service programs.

    “Lynchburg, Virginia has been my home for the past four-and-a-half years, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Liberty gave me more than I would have imagined when I had made my decision junior year of high school. A renewal of faith, lifelong friends and memories that I will remember forever are just a few of the great things Liberty has given me,” commented Bolton.

    “Many say that college will be the best years of your life, and I can honestly say that holds true for me. Winning championships and gaining awards are all great things, but the memories I’ve made alongside my best friends are truly what matters most.”

    “Not only has Liberty helped me into becoming a better student-athlete, but it has helped me grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. The strong men and women of faith that have poured their time and efforts into helping me grow in my walk with the Lord is something that is unexplainable. My coaches have showed me what it really means to live out the gospel each day and love me unconditionally. They exemplified Christ daily and have shaped me into the young woman I am today.”

    Bolton is the 55th overall recipient of this distinguished award, and this is the 49th year Liberty Athletics has presented its top athletics honor to a well-deserving senior student-athlete.

    Rock Royer Award
    1974 – Rick Herceg – Football
    1975 – Sling Patterson – Football
    1976 – David Neff – Football
    1977 – Scott Goetz – Football

    Mac Rivera Award
    1977 – Paul Dalton – Men’s Basketball

    Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award
    1978 – Gary Avila – Wrestling
    1979 – Dave Anderson – Football
    1980 – Karl Hess – Men’s Basketball
    1981 – David “D.J.” Hertzler – Football
    1982 – Sharon Snodgrass – Women’s Basketball
    1983 – Bill Gillespie – Football/Men’s Track & Field
    1984 – Rick Sielhamer – Wrestling
    1985 – Sue Andrew – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
    1985 – Dave Bream – Baseball
    1986 – Ron Stamer – Men’s Soccer
    1987 – Pam Wilder – Women’s Basketball
    1988 – Annie Hunt Fairchild – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
    1988 – Andre Sims – Football
    1989 – Kathy Guetterman – Volleyball
    1990 – Lynn Attwood – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field/Women’s Basketball
    1991 – Craig Holiday – Wrestling
    1992 – Mike Coleman – Men’s Basketball
    1993 – Theresa Bream – Volleyball/Women’s Basketball
    1994 – James Downey – Football
    1994 – Matt Hildebrand – Men’s Basketball
    1995 – Todd Setsma – Men’s Golf
    1996 – Ryan Werner – Men’s Track & Field
    1997 – Michael Prettyman – Men’s Track & Field
    1998 – Ben Anderson – Football
    1999 – Jarrod Everson – Football
    2000 – Elena Kisseleva – Women’s Basketball
    2001 – Andrea Wildrick – Women’s Track & Field
    2001 – Nathan Day – Men’s Basketball
    2002 – Heather Sagan – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
    2003 – Collin Mascagni – Men’s Soccer
    2004 – Tatiana Tkachuk – Volleyball
    2005 – Sam Gado – Football
    2005 – Danielle McNaney – Women’s Track & Field
    2006 – Sonia Rodriguez – Women’s Soccer
    2006 – Phillip Thompson – Baseball
    2007 – Arlene Zelinskas – Women’s Track & Field
    2008 – Allyson Fasnacht – Women’s Basketball
    2009 – Beth Bennett – Softball
    2010 – Chris Rocco – Football
    2011 – Zach Duke – Football
    2012 – Jesse Sanders – Men’s Basketball
    2013 – Jennifer Klugh – Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field
    2014 – Trey Lambert – Baseball
    2015 – Alex Close – Baseball
    2016 – Ashley Rininger – Women’s Basketball
    2017 – Holly Van Noord – Women’s Soccer
    2018 – Evangeline Crist – Women’s Tennis
    2019 – Alicia Finnigan – Women’s Swimming & Diving
    2020 – Hannah Baker – Women’s Swimming & Diving
    2021 – Kieran Vincent, Men’s Golf
    2022 – Jill Bolton, Field Hockey